American Competition – Egyptian’s working for $50 a month
I am not saying that Egyptian workers have the same skill set, though the situation illustrates the extreme disparity in the world of manufacturing workers.
“Egyptians Fight For $50-A-Month Factory Job
By Marjorie Olster and Tarek El-Tablawy, Associated Press
Manufacturing.Net - July 18, 2011
TALKHA, Egypt (AP) -- The sun was already searing the pavement on the early June morning when Mariam Hawas and her co-workers from the garment factory descended on the bank.
The bank employees knew why they'd come and rushed to bolt the doors.
The roughly 100 workers, most of them women, were looking for unpaid back wages from the United Bank in the city of Mansoura, until recently the largest shareholder in their factory. Labor protests like this are sweeping across Egypt after the uprising in January, as workers scramble to right decades of economic injustice.
Hawas, a 44-year-old mother of three, was hoping to collect her monthly salary from April -- 300 pounds ($50). But as the workers pounded on the doors, the bank employees responded with taunts from inside their air-conditioned offices.
"You can knock from now until next year," one jeered. "Go and block traffic in the streets if you want your rights," said another.
And so they did.
Traffic was snarled, temperatures and tempers were rising.
A truck driver climbed out to see what the commotion was about, and a frustrated policeman directing traffic goaded him on.
"Run them over. The blood money for each one is 50 pounds ($8)," the policeman said, according to several factory workers who witnessed the scene.
The driver climbed back into the cab of his truck. The engine revved, once, then a second time. On the third time, the truck lurched forward.
Egyptians have long complained that the cheapest thing in this country is their lives.”